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Miranda Vesy

Miranda Vesy
  Dr. Eric Schauber

Movements, Survival Rates, and Comparative Body Conditions of Hatchling and Juvenile Texas Horned Lizards on Tinker Air Force Base

The Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) has been receiving increased public interest in recent years due to declining population numbers. This decline is likely caused by habitat fragmentation, the expanding territory of the imported fire ant, the depletion of food sources from the overuse of pesticides, and over-collection for the pet trade. Translocation of adult horned lizards has been shown to be an ineffective method of repopulation, however the translocation success of hatchlings and juveniles of the species has yet to be tested. While adults have been monitored using radio telemetry, successful tracking of hatchlings and juveniles has proven to be a challenge because of their small size.  Only recently has tracking been made possible with harmonic radar technology. I will be using both techniques to monitor the movements, demography, and body conditions of all life stages of Texas horned lizards on Tinker Air Force base in Oklahoma. I will compare daily movements around a controlled urban wilderness area, survival success through adulthood, and body condition including growth rates between wild-born hatchlings and those hatched from a controlled captive setting. The data collected may help to shape a future management plan for repopulation of Texas horned lizards in the state of Oklahoma.